October 2006

Dave Holland Quintet
October 13, 2006 The Music Hall TheatreToronto
Jazz Fans... United
by David Fujino with photos by Roger Humbert
Modern jazz fans love to talk about their heroes — people like Miles and Monk and Trane. They're some of the music's late and truly great masters.

A lot of these same fans will also tell you just how 'great' Dave Holland's quintet truly is.

Well, for those of us who heard Mr. Holland and associates this Friday night, I can report that the group's near legendary 'greatness' has been soundly reaffirmed.

Right from the first piece, "Ebb and Flow", with its hard-bop rhythmic theme, and up to and including the final seventh piece, vibraphonist Steve Nelson's ready-to-soar, "Go Fly A Kite", the crack quintet played a deep and disciplined music that often pushes at the near edges of freedom.

Robin Eubanks, Chris Potter & (in background) Steve Nelson
In Chris Potter's "Vicissitudes", the tenor saxophonist's customarily torrential style was tonight a series of carefully parsed-out solo statements — at times Potter worked with a rhythmic shadow of the theme; at other times he arpeggiated beautifully, as if a coloratura soprano, and frequently his delight was expressed in proudly assertive, syncopated yelps at chorus endings.

Trombonist Robin Eubanks' smart logic shone, both in thematic interplays with Potter and in a fully arresting solo ("Full Circle") which proceeded from a sinewy boogaloo segment and then developed into a fiery duet with the newcomer, drummer Nate Smith, who fully deserved the shouts and thundering applause he received all evening.

In contrast with his wonderful predecessor, Billy Kilson, and his orchestral and poly-fragmented approach, drummer Smith emphasized a driving through line and held in suspenseful check a ready-to-erupt, creative turbulence.

Meanwhile, vibraphonist Steve Nelson was perhaps the most self-effacing member of the quintet. He stated unison themes with the horns, and his ringing, hanging notes deftly pointed to new harmonic directions, but as a soloist — especially in pieces like "Full Circle" — Nelson's long form subdivision of the beat was clearly nothing short of masterful.

Of course, Dave Holland freely let his musicians have their say — a lesson he surely learned from his famous employer, Miles Davis. And when Holland himself soloed, it was with a characteristic, thrilling originality, and a driving virtuosity.

Yes, the great modern jazz masters are gone — but we should rejoice in the music of living musicians, living master musicians such as those in the Dave Holland Quintet.

Let's support 'Great Live Music'.

Steve Nelson, Dave Holland & Nate Smith

Dave Holland Quintet
Dave Holland – acoustic bass
Chris Potter – tenor and soprano saxophones
Robin Eubanks – trombone
Steve Nelson – vibraphone and marimba
Nate Smith – drums

> another report from this concert <

We welcome your comments and feedback
David Fujino
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Roger Humbert
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The Live Music Report

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